HomeMediaRM Sotheby’s 1st Online Only catalog auction reaches $13.7 million

RM Sotheby’s 1st Online Only catalog auction reaches $13.7 million

The auction company switched its Palm Beach sale from live to online bidding because of the coronavirus pandemic


RM Sotheby’s first online-only catalog sale, which replaced the annual live South Florida auction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, totaled $13.7 million in overall sales for 259 collector cars and 21 lots of memorabilia. 

The auction was held on the company’s Online Only digital platform from March 20 with timed bidding closing from March 25 through 28, achieving a 69 percent sell-through rate.  There were about 900 registered bidders from around the world, 23 percent more than the average number at the South Florida sales during the past four years, according to an RM Sotheby’s news release.

A 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra sold for $682,000

The Online Only: The Palm Beach Auction virtual sale was originally RM Sotheby’s 18th annual South Florida auction, set to be held at the Palm Beach International Raceway on March 20-21.  This was to have been the first year at the new location, with the previous annual Florida auctions held in Fort Lauderdale.

The company decided to switch from live to online just 10 days prior to the auction date in the face of rising concerns about coronavirus transmission.  The Online Only platform was launched in the fall of 2019 for single or small-lot sales. 

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The McLaren Senna has been driven only 200 miles

“This was an unprecedented online collector car auction in terms of both value of cars offered over four days and the speed at which we had to pivot from the regularly scheduled South Florida auction,” Kenneth Ahn, president of RM Sotheby’s, said in the news release. “The decision to shift our long-established physical auction to our online platform was not without its complexities.

“The COVID-19 virus pandemic is clearly a new challenge for our industry and business. We were able to quickly mobilize and adapt to the changing environment, allowing us to continue to serve our clients in a meaningful and effective way.”

Last year, RM Sotheby’s auction in Fort Lauderdale reached a record $23.2 million total, with 80 percent of the 476 vehicles sold.  All reported sales results include auction fees.

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The Porsche GT2 is one of just 194 road-going examples built by Porsche

A 1996 Porsche 911 GT2, a pristine, unmodified example of only 194 road-going examples of the German supercar was the high seller, hitting $891,000.  A 2019 McLaren Senna, a highly option example presented in essentially as-new condition with just 200 miles on the odometer, was second highest at $847,000. 

The top-10 highest sellers at RM Sotheby’s Online Only auction were:

  1. 1996 Porsche 911 GT2, $891,000
  2. 2019 McLaren Senna, $847,000
  3. 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra, $682,000
  4. 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III, $434,500
  5. 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale, $324,500
  6. 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-liter roadster, $280,500
  7. 1992 Lamborghini LM002, $275,000
  8. 1983 Lamborghini Countach LP 5000S, $275,000
  9. 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II, $260,000
  10. 2006 Ford GT, $242,000

(All sales include buyer fees)

RM Sotheby’s and its RM Auctions affiliate have canceled auctions for the next few months because of COVID-19.  The resumption of the auctions depends on how long the pandemic precautions continue.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


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